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Syrian conflict

Syria says Israel warplanes attacked arms depot and wounded three soldiers near Damascus

  • Syrian state TV says Israeli warplanes fired missiles on Syrian targets while the jets were in Lebanese airspace
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 December, 2018, 6:42am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 December, 2018, 9:06pm

Israeli warplanes flying over Lebanon fired missiles toward areas near the Syrian capital of Damascus late Tuesday, hitting an arms depot and wounding three soldiers, Syrian state media reported, saying that most of the missiles were shot down by air defence units.

The official SANA news agency said “a number of enemy targets were downed” by the air defences.

State TV quoted an unnamed military official as saying “the aggression damaged an arms depot and wounded three soldiers.” It added that the Israeli warplanes fired the missiles from Lebanese airspace.

SANA reported that Israeli warplanes had been flying low over parts of southern Lebanon and the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said Israeli air strikes targeted three positions south of Damascus that are arms depots for Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group and Iranian forces.

“It’s an Israeli raid,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, who heads the war monitor.

Donald Trump’s troop pull-out from Syria weakens US hand in the Middle East and boosts Russia

The reported attack near Damascus is the first since US President Donald Trump announced last week that the US would withdraw all of its 2,000 forces in Syria, a move that would leave control of the oil-rich eastern third of Syria up for grabs.

Nearly an hour after the attacks began, Damascus residents could still hear the air defence units firing toward targets in the air.

“The aggression is still ongoing,” said a presenter on state TV, which interrupted its programs to air patriotic songs.

Meanwhile, Israel’s military spokesman unit also reported action, though it did not confirm air attacks. It said in a statement that “an aerial defence system was activated against an anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria.” No damage or injuries were reported by the Israeli military.

Israel is widely believed to have been behind a series of air strikes in the past that mainly targeted Iranian and Hezbollah forces fighting alongside the government in Syria. Tuesday’s attack is the first since a missile assault on the southern outskirts of Damascus on November 29.

Russia announced it had delivered the S-300 air defence system to Syria in October. That followed the September 17 downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane by Syrian forces responding to an Israeli air strike, a friendly fire incident that stoked regional tensions.

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse